Sailors from HMS Forth took part in the Falkland Islands’ annual Battle Day for the ﬁrst time.
Ever since the Royal Navy defeated a German force oﬀ the islands in 1914, December 8 has been marked as a national holiday – and a day of commemoration remembering the 29 Commonwealth casualties and 1,871 German sailors killed.
Focal point for the anniversary is the waterfront monument erected to the men of 1914 on a headland in Stanley near Government House, residence of governor Nigel Phillips.
He joined Commodore Jonathan Lett, the Commander British Forces South Atlantic Islands, the Falkland Islands Defence Force, and members of Forth’s ship’s company for a service and wreathlaying on the cenotaph. “The Battle of the Falkland Islands was one of the decisive naval engagements of World War 1,” Commodore Lett said. “As I reﬂect on the events of 106 years ago, I am struck by the quality of the sailors who fought so valiantly in the battle, many of whom were reservists called up at short notice.”
The battle put an end to the exploits of Admiral Graf von Spee’s East Asia Squadron, which had evaded the Royal Navy until then. It took eight hours for an overwhelming British force to sink four German cruisers, including the ﬂagship, the admiral and his two sons. No Royal Navy vessels were lost, but one of Spee’s ships, the cruiser SMS Dresden, escaped and took four months to hunt down.
Navy News. (2021) Falklands First for Forth. Navy News. February 2021, pp.30.